Bernard “Boob” Darling
Height: 6-1; Weight: 206
College: Ripon, 1923; Beloit, 1925-26
Rangy and a sure snapper in Curly Lambeau’s Notre Dame Box offense, Darling shared the starting center position with fellow Packers Hall of Famer Jug Earp on the 1929 and 1930 NFL championship teams. At the time, players went both ways and Darling not only centered the offensive line but played in the middle of a seven-man defensive front.
He also was a good enough athlete to have played professional basketball with the Oshkosh All-Stars, who were founded and coached by his brother, Lon Darling.
“(Boob Darling) had a willingness to play that was undying – he wanted to play in the worst way,” said former teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Michalske. “He was an unsung hero, always worked hard and never was hurt.”
Darling signed with the Packers after dropping out of Beloit College. He played in 36 games and started 17, all at center. Fourteen of his starts came in 1929 and 1930.
He was released on Oct. 13, 1931, after playing in four of the Packers’ first five games that season. That was the day Joe Carr, president of the NFL, issued an ultimatum to coach Curly Lambeau to either obey the league’s 22-man roster limit or face a $500 fine and have all but the first three games of the season thrown out. Carr had been in Green Bay nine days earlier to help raise the 1930 NFL championship pennant prior to a game against the New York Giants.
Shortly after receiving the call from Carr, Lambeau released four players and loaned another to the Chicago Cardinals. By then, Darling was already working as an agent for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., a job that offered more security than the Packers during the Great Depression.
Darling was elected to the Packers’ board of directors on March 7, 1955, and served until his death. He also was a member of the team’s executive committee from 1955 to 1959, when it was trimmed from 13 to seven members.
Born Nov. 18, 1903, in Oshkosh, Wis. Given name Bernard Edward Darling. Died March 5, 1968, at age 64.
- By Cliff Christl